Things that are out of our control can be so frustrating. There is so much these days that we have control of. Think about it. Apps on our phone help us control where and when we pick up our groceries, when our order is ready at Chick-fil-a, what seat we want for our flight. It is all at our fingertips. And the argument could be made that we really don’t control those things. But we control when they happen, and we control the very fact that we can access the services and use them, most of the time.
We control things in our house now with Bluetooth, Alexa and all those other technologies I don’t understand. Information is either at the tips of our fingers, through our phone, or at the sound of our voice, through a home system or again, our phone. What’s in our fridge, how hot we want our coffee from that Bluetooth coffee machine, what setting we want our lights on when we return home from work, the angle of our blinds based on the sunlight, when our dog gets fed, and so on. There are million of devices, some useless and some priceless, that give us feelings of control over our decisions and immediate gratification.
But as I stood in the rain one night, waiting for my dog to pee, I had no control. He is a 100-pound mutt that is terrified of storms. I was out there, in pajamas and a broken umbrella, trying to coax him to pee in a rainstorm with a 6-foot leash. My only options were to let him pee in the house in the middle of the night, or wait it out in the rainstorm until the urge to pee was greater than his fear of storms. There was no tying him out or putting him in a dog lot and trying to break his stubborn streak. He would break out of anything I tried. There was no command, that he knew at least, where I could tell him to pee.
I got agitated. It was late, and every single person in the neighborhood was asleep. I figured I had about 30 minutes to myself before my own sweet child woke up and stumbled into my bed.
I wanted my damn dog to pee.
But you can’t make a dog pee. And you really can’t make a dog pee in a rainstorm.
There was no app, no assistant, no advice, and no device that would help me with my problem. It was a simple problem. But a problem that stood between me and my clean bed.
I looked down at his private parts and in a moment of desperation thought “can I grab it make him pee?” Then I realized it isn’t like milking a cow. I didn’t try it, for the record.
I walked him around all of the good smells in the yard. Nothing.
I walked him around some new areas with new smells. Nothing.
I finally stopped trying and sat in a chair, in the rain. He looked at me for a few minutes, a steady unwavering glare. He kept his gaze on me, and slowly lifted his leg. It landed three inches from my foot.
Oh he knew.
After he finished, he turned and started walking towards the door. He looked back at me with another glare as if to say ” why the heck are you sitting out here in the rain?”
It made me laugh and made me a little humble to the natural order of things. We get so detached from reality sometimes. We get frustrated when we don’t have all three bars of Internet in the Panera. We get really upset when a storm knocks out cable altogether. Technology is one very big factor (or many) that has shortened our attention spans and our patience.
My dog refusing to pee in a rainstorm doesn’t really connect to technology in any way, except in the fact itself that it doesn’t connect. Maybe we should put the phone down next time we’re at dinner, or with our spouse or kids. They might teach or tell us something that Facebook can’t, or inform of us something more important than the latest twitter update. Or, like my dog taught me that night, that patience is a virtue.